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Gilmore Girls: An American Tragedy

“This whole thing is dead to me, anyway. It died with Richard.” – Emily Gilmore, Fall. Was the death of Richard Gilmore the death of White America? It’s not that…

This whole thing is dead to me, anyway. It died with Richard.” – Emily Gilmore, Fall.

Was the death of Richard Gilmore the death of White America?

It’s not that the Gilmore Girls revival is less White than the original show; it’s that it’s more honest. The original Gilmore Girls was a White liberal utopia: a single mother raising her young daughter in an idyllic, wacky, all-White village in Connecticut (except for some Koreans and one disdainfully snobbish mulatto Frenchman—we’ll come back to him). Known for its snappy dialogue and charming absurdity, it was a difficult show not to like—anecdotally speaking, I know almost as many men as women who quietly enjoyed Gilmore Girls, usually introduced to it by their daughters or girlfriends.

But of course, the original Gilmore Girls was a lie. In the real world, a sixteen-year-old pregnant rich girl who ran away from home wouldn’t stumble upon a Brigadoon-esque village and grow up to become a successful businesswoman while her genius daughter/BFF goes to the equivalent of Choate and then Yale. In the real world, women who make as many bad decisions as Lorelai Gilmore does aren’t happy, nor are they seemingly rewarded for all of them. But the world of Gilmore Girls was a world set apart, a frozen episode that looked like early 2000’s America on the surface but really hearkened back to a more idyllic time.

I went into the revival expecting more of the same. In the final episode of the original series, we’re left with a Lorelai who has finally gotten back together with Luke the diner owner, and a Rory who has turned down a marriage proposal from her long-term boyfriend Logan Huntzberger, in order to pursue a career in journalism. This latter decision was one of the more signal-y moments in Gilmore Girls history: the girl-power ending where she proved she didn’t need no man! I predicted a revival that showed a plucky reporterette, fully satisfied with her career; a script that covered over the reality of culture that tells women they don’t need marriage, of the sick society in which we live where ‘empowered’ women slowly eat themselves to death after returning from their desk job every evening, alone except for a cat or two.

But I was wrong. The Gilmore Girls revival, wittingly or otherwise, reveals the rot of American society—especially in comparison with the original. The difference is so striking that I have to believe it was not entirely intentional on the part of the show creator; rather, it is indicative of a distinct change in social mood that has taken place between when the show ended, in 2007, and today.

The new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life takes place over the course of a year, broken into four 90-minute episodes: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. (Obligatory disclaimer: I am going to spoil the ending.)

In the original show, there was very little political propaganda. This was one of the most appealing things about it. Lorelai made the occasional George Bush joke, sometimes mocked her wealthy WASP parents for being Republicans, and Rory had a Planned Parenthood poster in her dorm room, but that was basically it. (Of course, the original premise of the show was pro-life, so they had to balance it out somehow). In general, this was incredibly refreshing compared to the constant political signaling in network television shows at the time, and compared to what’s on television now it’s like a different world. But the reboot is a different story. Suddenly, the town of Stars Hollow is engaged in gender activism, with earnest plans to put on a gay pride parade that never materializes due to a lack of homosexual town residents. (Hard to believe given the sudden prominence given to homosexual townsfolk.)

But far more striking is the change in the character of Michel Gerard. Michel, an overbearing, impeccably-dressed Frenchman with a thick accent and a penchant for Celine Dion, is a White-presenting mulatto who works at Lorelai’s inn, The Dragonfly. The original character of Michel was infamously sexually ambiguous; he of course fit a certain gay stereotype, was a little too close to his mother, etc. Nevertheless, there were occasional references made in passing to dating women, and never any made to male liaisons. Within the first 20 minutes of the reboot, in the first scene involving his character, Michel is discoursing scornfully about his male partner Frederick’s desire to adopt children. Why the dramatic change?

The answer is pretty simple: the original Gilmore Girls was a break from reality, while the reboot is almost unbearable in its reality. The past 8 years have been dramatic in their psychological effect on American society, and it is reflected here. But it’s more than that, in the world of the show. The mirror has crack’d from side-to-side; Richard Gilmore is dead. And with the patriarchal Gilmore gone, the order of things begins to break down, especially for the three female Gilmores.

Emily

You don’t move or change ever. There’s a picture of you in the attic that Dorian Grey is consulting lawyers about.” – Lorelai to Emily, “Spring.”

The change in Emily is the most dramatic over the course of these four episodes. Unlike the two younger Gilmore girls, Emily is marble-constant, an American matriarch to make Tocqueville proud. As she points out to her unwed daughter Lorelai, who has been “roommates” with Luke the diner owner for 8 years, she, Emily, was married to the same man for fifty years. Her loss at his death is incomprehensible to someone like Lorelai. Ever her husband’s champion, after Lorelai makes a characteristically embarrassing scene at her father’s funeral, Emily chides her thus: “Your father was a great man, a pillar of the community, a man amongst men. And you dishonored him today like this in his own house.” None of the other males in this world come close to Richard Gilmore. The implication runs throughout the show: we shall never see his like again.

Much like the unappreciated WASP patriarchs who held America together for so long, but who also oversaw its slow doom, Richard died having paid for his illegitimate granddaughter’s education at his alma mater, Yale, where she learned—what, exactly? Richard died without having to seriously confront the fantasy he built around Rory, Yale, and ultimately, America itself.

Over the course of the year, Emily is in a tailspin. “I don’t know how to do this,” she says to Lorelai at one point. “Do what?” “Live my life.” It is a jarring thing to watch: Emily Gilmore, the woman who knew every customary form, the woman of exquisite taste, who could never bear to let anyone see her falter: spiraling.

Even her beloved Daughters of the American Revolution chapter holds no joys for her now. (This is where I think the show breaks continuity with the original character, but for the sake of argument, we may chalk it up to grief.) The DAR, of course, represents another aspect of the collapse of the American regime; we may recall that it was one of the only national organizations that fought the 1965 Immigration Act tooth and nail, alongside the American Legion. And if there is one thing Emily devoted her life to, besides her family, it was the DAR. Finally, in an outburst at a DAR meeting, Emily says the most un-Emily line of them all: “I can’t spend any more time and energy on artifice and bullshit.” This betrays more about the script-writer than about Emily, for Emily Gilmore before this would never have really considered her work for the DAR to be artifice: the seemingly frivolous work of choosing curtains and tablecloths and china patterns was an expression of an attempt to hold a fraying society together. As Emily says before she walks out the DAR doors, “This whole thing is dead to me anyway. It died with Richard.” Without Richard Gilmore, there’s no point in trying to save America anymore.

Lorelai

You never do anything unless it’s exactly what you want to do. You never have. You go through life like a natural disaster knocking down everything and everyone in your path.” – Emily to Lorelai, “Winter.”

Fact check: True.

Lorelai is as flighty and selfish as ever, so there isn’t much new ground to cover here. She and Luke have lived together since the end of the series, never married, and apparently never even discussed having children, so it suddenly becomes an issue now. With Lorelai nearing the age of fifty, she can’t have children, and so surrogacy becomes a plot device that goes nowhere (but allows for some great scenes with the inimitable Paris Gellar, who breathed life into the whole depressing mess). Between the surrogacy drama and going to therapy with her mother, Lorelai works herself up into a real midlife crisis, deciding to go and hike the Pacific Crest Trail a la the book and movie Wild. Granted, I know nothing about either, but while the whole adventure seemed out of character—until she doesn’t actually go through with it—there was a certain pathos to the conversations she had with other women seeking solace in the wilderness. As the lonely ladies sit around a fire drinking boxed wine, one of them says, “I’m so glad I’m doing this. I almost did ‘Eat Pray Love,’ but my miles were blacked out. So here I am.” She later adds: “God, I hope this hike works. I need a new life so badly.”

Lorelai realizes that she doesn’t actually need a new life, and goes home to Luke having discovered that all she wants is to get married to him, leading to one of my favorite lines of the show: “I’ve gotta tell ya, before this thing goes on, the only way out is in a body bag.”

As infuriating as Lorelai is, she finally grows up enough to marry the man she loves. That’s something.

Rory

You’re glowing! You must be in love.” – Emily to Rory, “Winter.”

But Rory isn’t in love.

She’s not in love with her boyfriend Paul, whom she has dated for two years and whose existence she regularly forgets. (The callous treatment of forgettable Paul is supposed to be funny, but comes off as cruel.) She’s not in love with her work. She doesn’t even seem to be in love with her lover, Logan Huntzberger, who, it turns out, she has been having an extended sexual relationship with, we can assume for many years. Logan is engaged to a French heiress, but Rory stays with him whenever she’s in London, which seems to be quite often. In the series finale Rory turned down his offer of a diamond ring and a life together—apparently only to exchange it for the life of a mistress, a high-class call girl. This is why it is almost impossible to have any sympathy for the girl when Logan tells her that his fiancé is finally moving in, and that they’ll have to conduct their liasons in a hotel in the future. It suddenly dawns on Rory that she is, indeed, the other woman—and that rather than romantic, her life looks tawdry.

Lacking sympathy for Rory is the popular thing to do in reviews of the reboot, but for the wrong reasons. Sure, it’s true that Rory comes across as a spoiled child who has never been called to account for her poor choices. And yeah, her career isn’t going well. But it seems to me that that’s not because she’s arrogant or entitled: it’s because her heart just isn’t in it anymore. Even when she steels herself to get something done and goes out into Manhattan to interview people for a ridiculous story, instead of successfully completing her task we are treated to the cringiest scene of the entire show, when she returns to tell her mother that she’s had her first one-night stand with a man in a Wookie costume. (Yes, at this point she’s still supposedly dating Paul and sleeping with Logan.) She expresses no horror at her own disloyalty, but only at her choice of partner.

So who, or what, does Rory love?

She expresses a sincere nostalgic love for her ex-boyfriend Dean when she runs into him in the grocery store. And she drops everything to save the Stars Hollow Gazette from extinction, even taking over as editor—a truly thankless task.

It’s clear that Rory is in love with her childhood. Stars Hollow, her first boyfriend, and her mother are all emblems of this. Other reviewers see this as a failing; I do not. There’s nothing wrong with loving a place and trying to make it better, even sacrificing more prestigious dreams in order to do so. In some ways, Rory makes peace with this over the course of the episodes. She finally makes a clean break with Logan; she begins writing a book about the story of her relationship with her mother; and of course, in the shocking final scene, she tells her mother, “I’m pregnant.” While the show creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, has suggested that Rory might have an abortion, the reviewer at Vox was horrified that Rory might actually think of keeping the child:

“Is this really what Rory wanted for herself? Or is she too deeply wedded to the mythos of Stars Hollow to know what her own desires are at this point?

The narrative’s cheerful, almost totally uncritical sublimation of millennial women’s individual agency to the cause of more babies is utterly enraging. To accept this plot as a natural conclusion to the show means either rewriting Rory herself into a passive noncommittal bore, or twisting Stars Hollow itself into something unrecognizable: a distorted version of American life where individual dreams and goals are repressed and subsumed into the larger collective. Stars Hollow, in this view, becomes a pro-life argument for the need to continue the legacy of Stars Hollow at any cost — even if it means dismantling the dreams of one of Stars Hollow’s finest.

It’s an abysmal, bittersweet way to part with a beloved fictional town. Rory will have the illusion of happiness, surrounded by community and family. But if 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that false comfort won’t make America great again, and it definitely won’t make Rory Gilmore great again.”

You see, the real tragedy would be having a community and a family, and thinking of yourself as happy. The horror!

Conclusion

The transformation of the town and its characters shows us that nothing is free of politics after the era of Obama, not even Stars Hollow.

Emily Gilmore is never really going to recover, because her world is gone.

Lorelai is getting married but isn’t going to have a child, while Rory may have a child, but isn’t getting married. It’s unclear whether or not she’ll have her baby, but either way, it won’t be raised with a father, just as Rory wasn’t raised with one. It’s a fatherless world. No fathers, no kings, no Richard Gilmores.

And yet the show isn’t really capable of pretending that everything is fine. The darkness shines through the charming humor, which isn’t as charming as it used to be. The gods left the earth a long time ago, but this seems to be a world entirely bereft of men. The result isn’t a feminist fantasy: it’s just sad.

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Monsters’ Ball

The series finale of HBO’s highly rated vampire soap opera, True Blood, concluded with an ostensive picture of Southern Family Values. The show flash forwards several years and the protagonist, the blonde Southern Belle Sookie Stackhouse is pregnant, and her baby daddy—though we do not know see his face—is presumably her husband and appears to be White. Her brother Jason, an incorrigible ladies man, is happily married to a blonde he met a few episodes earlier, and they have a few blond children.

The series finale of HBO’s highly rated vampire soap opera, True Blood, concluded with an ostensive picture of Southern Family Values. The show flash forwards several years and the protagonist, the blonde Southern Belle Sookie Stackhouse is pregnant, and her baby daddy—though we do not know see his face—is presumably her husband and appears to be White. Her brother Jason, an incorrigible ladies man, is happily married to a blonde he met a few episodes earlier, and they have a few blond children.

They are hosting a neighborhood dinner outside the family’s ancestral antebellum estate, and Sookie serves her friends and family a home-cooked meal at a picnic table, underneath a Weeping Willow and illuminated by lanterns and the stars. 

As Sookie is part fairy, Jason and his wife are the only couple of the opposite sex and same race and species. I may have missed one or two, but the couples include an interracial shape-shifter/human with two mulatto kids; a vampire/human (both children of intolerant parents); a witch/human; fairy/human; and, my favorite, Lafayette—a gay, Black, semi-transgendered witch and his White, vampire boyfriend. 

A vampire-human wedding dominates much of the episode, with one character noting that the State of Louisiana bans such weddings. He asks how anyone could deny their love, despite some minor problems: the vampire bride lost control of her urges and killed her groom’s three daughters; the couple cannot reproduce; and the groom will age while the bride maintains eternal youth. 

The penultimate scene preceding this display of domestic bliss shows two vampires enslaving and torturing Sarah Newlin, a blonde Christian evangelical leader who has led various anti-vampire crusades. (Viewers are expected to view this scene with schadenfreude rather than pity.)

While conservatives love to hate this show, I have not seen any reaction to the final episode. It may come, but I doubt the final scene will inspire their ire. I looked over the anti-True Blood articles in the two main anti-liberal Hollywood websites—the Media Research Center and Breitbart’s Big Hollywood—to see their complaints: sex and violence, jokes about Republicans and Ted Cruz, hate criminals wearing Obama masks (would they be less upset if they wore Sarah Palin masks?), and other kvetching.

Breitbart.com ran eight separate stories (12345678) on an episode in which vampires and the Yakuza attack a fundraiser for Ted Cruz and a character used the portmanteau “Republicunt.” The True Blood producers had asked Sarah Palin to guest star in the episode, which she turned down. She told Breitbart, in full self-parody mode, 

Nice try HBO. I’d put any mama grizzly in America against a vampire any day; for only one of them actually exists. The left wants to talk about a ‘war on women’? Keep engaging in your misogynist attacks on women you disagree with and we’ll see who wins your self-inflicted war in the court of decent public opinion.

Breitbart and the Media Research Center are correct in one sense: no doubt, True Blood‘s writers and producers vote predominantly for Democrats, and the show takes cheap shots at Republicans and Christians. But such things are superficial and dispensable to the essence series. And characteristically, conservative critics ignore, or are unable to understand, the more fundamental and insidious ways in which Hollywood engages in culture distortion. 

True Blood’s premise is that scientists have synthesized human blood into the brand “True Blood”; since vampires no longer need to prey on innocent victims, they are able to “come out of the coffin” and acknowledge their existence to humans. As the show continues, other supernatural beings, including witches, shapeshifters, werewolves, fairies, and even a Maenad, are revealed.             

The opening credits feature signs with phrase like “God Hates Fangs” (get it, like “god hates fags”), alongside images of police beating civil rights activists and KKK cross-burnings. The aforementioned Sarah Newlin, along with her husband, the Rev. Steve Newlin (who turns out to be a closeted homosexual), Republican Congressman David Finch (also a closeted homosexual), and Republican Governor Truman Burrell (not a closeted homosexual, but his wife cheated on him with a vampire) all promote various anti-vampire positions ranging from opposing the “vampire rights amendment” to putting vampires in concentration camps to experimenting on them before committing mass genocide.

Though the show portrays hateful Christians negatively, it is not entirely anti-Christian. In one episode in Season 6, Sarah Newlin attempts to massacre a group of vampires in a warehouse by opening the roof and letting the sun in. She tells herself that God wants her to do it. Yet in the same episode, a Black minister gives a sermon about a recently deceased White character. He praises his devotion to God and says that he understands that he violated Christian gospel, because he knew “he was telling the truth.”

The message is clear: Christians are good when they promote love and understanding, even if it involves ignoring the Bible; they are bad when they promote hate.  

What should we make of this? Charlene Harris, the author of the show’s source material, The Southern Vampire Mysteries, welcomed the idea that the show promoted gay rights, stating,

When I began framing how I was going to represent the vampires, it suddenly occurred to me that it would be interesting if they were a minority that was trying to get equal rights.

Despite debates about vampire marriage, “coming out of the coffin,” “God hates fangs,” and Harris’s explicit statements, True Blood’s producer Alan Ball (who is gay) insisted that this was not the case. According to Ball,

To look at these vampires on the show as metaphors for gays and lesbians is so simple and so easy, that it’s kind of lazy. . . . If you get really serious about it, well, then the show could be seen to be very homophobic because vampires are dangerous: They kill, they’re amoral.

Even the most noble and good vampires have to restrain their urge to kill humans—and they always slip up. Moreover, while the vampires are publicly demanding equal rights, they have their own secret government and code. When Bill Compton, the most compassionate vampire in the first few seasons of the show kills a vampire who was going to kill a human, he is punished because vampires are never allowed to view a human’s life as equal to that of a vampire’s. The same vampire council that publicly promotes “equal rights” has its own mantra that state, “Humans exist to serve us. That is their only value.” At later points in the series, he plots to destroy the true blood factories to force vampires to feed on humans. 

BuzzFeed’s Louis Pietzman noticed the problem.

On True Blood, the larger fears about vampires—that they’re out to kill, corrupt, and ultimately destroy human society—are entirely accurate. The struggle for vampire rights is not the noble fight of the civil rights movement, because it’s not simply about letting vampires live their lives in peace alongside humans: Vampire rights means that innocent people are going to die.

Additionally, many of the vampires do not have politically correct backgrounds to make them ideal victims. Sookie’s love interest, Bill, was a slave-owning Confederate soldier before he was turned, and fan favorite Eric Northman was a Viking before becoming a vampire and served in the SS during World War II.

Yet Pietzman and Ball do not realize the other reason why a civil rights allegory fails. In the words of the Vampire King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington, “Why would we seek equal rights? You are not our equals.” By almost every standard, they are superior to humans, and they discuss this amongst themselves. They can fly; they can hypnotize or “glamour” people; they are faster and more seductive; they have eternal life, can survive almost any injury; and their blood serves as a cure-all drug and powerful psychedelic. Edgington tells Northman, “Adolf was right; there is a Master Race . . . it’s just not the human race.”

Similarly, the vampire movie series Underworld treats vampires as evil Southern racists who enslaved and then later oppressed werewolves. (The first movie was about how the daughter of the head vampire needed to mate with a werewolf to save civilization.) While propaganda, it was at least plausible.

In today’s political culture, only the less capable need “civil rights.” Once America lifted legal and social restrictions on Jews, they managed to excel (in fact, they even excelled with these restrictions). For all intensive purposes, Jewish “civil rights” are about punishing criticism (or noticing) of Jewish power. While Asians will often try to gain special privileges, Asian civil rights groups do little more than complain about Stephen Colbert’s “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

While Asians and Jews may not be as übermenschy as Eric Northman, they have some things going for them, which makes granting them “civil rights” unnecessary. Blacks and Hispanics, in contrast, need “civil rights” in order to achive success as a group at all. 

For a supernatural analogy to the beneficiaries of “civil rights,” the zombie show The Walking Dead is a better example.  Zombies, or “walkers,” have few instincts beyond killing and eating brains, and destroying everything in their path. In small numbers, they are easily dealt with, but when they gather in herds, they destroy everything in their path.

In the series, there are only two characters who have had any allusions that walkers can be saved or treated as anything other than a scourge that must be eliminated. 

In the second season of the show, the protagonists happen upon a rural farm in Georgia. As the apocalypse arrives, the farmer, Hershel Greene, looks to the Biblical story of Jesus’ raising of Lazarus as a way of understanding the chaos. He claims that people are overreacting and considers the zombie problem as something similar to AIDS—walkers can be saved! The protagonists learn that he puts zombies in a barn and feeds them live chickens, hoping for a cure. The notion is obviously inane, and Hershel eventually comes to his senses. But examples of the human willingness to wish or pray away existential threats get much worse. In the fourth season, an 11-year-old girl named Lizzie insists that zombies are just different and can be their friends. She feeds them dead rats and rabbits. She tries to play “tag” with them. She even threatens to kill her adoptive mother-figure, Carol, after she kills a walker. Refusing to believe that the walkers are bad, Lizzie stabs her sister so that she might return undead and harmless to prove the goodness of walkers to Carol.

Carol and Tyrese (the show is fully integrated) discuss the situation. In a different time, they would try to find Lizzie a therapist; but during a zombie apocalypse, they can’t tolerate psychopathic altruism. They kill the child.

It’s hard not to view scenes like this as expressing something about the racial realities of our time: the sentimental, naive, and caring nature of White people, which can be beneficial in certain contexts, disastrous in others.

True Blood might have beeen the ultimate program for postmodern American liberals: on the surface, the show was about “civil rights” and post-White self-righteousness; underneath, it allowed fans to indulge in the fantasy of being part of a sexually liberated, superior elite.

The Walking Dead seems to express something quite different: that it’s time to rebuild communities and put childish things aside.

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Who Makes History

Foley died on his knees. With his last act, he condemned his government as his “real killers,” and couldn’t even spit defiance at those about to murder him. He had to condemn the actions of his own brother. He denounced his country.

The most we can hope for is a good death. James Foley did not get a good death.

This is not a judgment on his courage. Such a verdict depends on information we will never have. Making a speech against American foreign policy and then suffering the knife may be an act of astounding bravery if the price for refusal had been the butchery of other hostages. Or his relative stoicism may have been a simple surrender to fate, like we see in the blank faces of those about to be cut apart by chainsaws or pickaxes in Mexico’s cartel wars.

Regardless of context or circumstance, Foley at least met his end with dignity, with no crying or begging for mercy as the steel bit into his throat. Put aside bravado–can you honestly say you would done better with your neck under the blade?

But none of that changes the reality that Foley died utterly defeated. And we can think of recent alternatives. In 2004, Iraqi insurgents captured one Fabrizio Quattrocchi and forced him to dig his own grave. Infuriated, he attempted to rip off his hood and screamed, “Now I’ll show you how an Italian dies!” The insurgents shot him to death in a panicky display of weakness. Quattrocchi was hailed as a hero, a man who met his end in a way the Romans would have recognized. 

In contrast, Foley died on his knees. With his last act, he condemned his government as his “real killers,” and couldn’t even spit defiance at those about to murder him. He had to condemn the actions of his own brother. He denounced his country. And he met his end with words of self-loathing on his lips, broadcast to the rest of the world.

President Barack Obama, in a statement of a few minutes before he returned to playing golf, said “one thing we can all agree on” is “there is no place in the 21st century” for the Islamic State. Of course, this is the same thing people say about the British monarchy, organized religion, or single-sex bathrooms on college campuses. It’s the simple assumption that we have seen the End of History at a student activities fair at Oberlin, and Gaza, Aleppo, and Baghdad are just playing catch up.

But the rejection of liberal modernity is precisely what ISIS is all about. And as large populations within increasingly Islamized Western nations support the Islamic State–including over a quarter of young “French people”–Obama’s passivity is hardly justified. Indeed, the man who beheaded Foley was a British subject and more British subjects fight for the Islamic State than Her Majesty. It’s a simple statement of fact to say more Muslims in Britain are willing to die for the people who beheaded Foley than to try to save him, and those who want to see a successful display of multiculturalism should look to Raqqa rather than Washington.

After all, the America of Obama or the Britain of Cameron are cultural nullities, unable to even define themselves, let alone why anyone should die for them. Indeed, even now, Obama’s statement suggested that the United States must still justify itself to the Islamic World. Before he could offer meaningless platitudes, the President ritualistically insisted that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam.

  • The main victims of the Islamic State are–wait for it–Muslims.
  • Obama says that the Islamic State may “claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors”–evidently because Muslims who war on the West directly are better somehow.
  • And the President claimed that “no faith teaches people to massacre innocents,” a statement so utterly self-refuting that it requires no further comment by me.

While progressives love to pretend that “education” is the answer to all the world’s problems, the fact is that liberal modernity and all it has to offer has been tried, tested, and found wanting by Western born mujahideen. Michael Brendan Dougherty identifies Islamic radicalism as a revolutionary creed akin to Communism and National Socialism which:

[O]ffer visions of justice that are larger and deeper than some dirty court system. And the struggle in establishing them holds out prizes that are extremely rare for men of the West: glory, martyrdom, and heroism. Revolution beats a life of traffic tickets, creditors, bosses, and — if you’re especially lucky — angst about real-estate.

But it goes deeper than seeking thrills or even fulfilling existential desire. Ultimately, the mujahideen are staking a claim to history and offering a challenge to History, carving out their names in blood and fire across the crossroads of civilization.

In contrast, President Obama says that “the future is won by those who build and not destroy. The world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.” This is an extraordinary claim to make about someone who was essentially a spectator to his own death. It’s even more stupefying to say this of the masses who may have taken a moment to tweet #prayers with a sad emoticon and then gone back to giggling about Mariah Carey getting divorced again.

James Foley was certainly brave in his way–no physical cowards work as freelance journalists in war zones. He even returned to his work after previously being captured in Libya and living to tell the tale.

However, he had a specific agenda with his work–he was trying to expose the “atrocities” of the Assad regime and support the “democracy” movement. Foley may have been a freelancer, but his worldview was eminently predictable and pro-Establishment–trying to break down questions of race, religion, and identity into a game of good egalitarian democrats versus bad reactionaries.

Thus, he was quick to draw critical attention to incidents that the media would call Islamophobic, like when an American military officer made comments critical of Islam during a class on terrorism. He tweeted out articles that we would consider parody, asking if right wing terrorism was as big a threat as Al-Qaeda. And he aggressively, incessantly pushed for NATO intervention in Syria and arming the opposition to Bashar al-Assad–even though he also considered civilian casualties inflicted by the Israeli and American militaries to be murder.

Like so many liberals, he was embarrassed by American power but eager and dependent upon it, disgusted by militarism but anxious to find new crusades to spread Lady Gaga at the point of a gun. His condemnation of Bashar al-Assad is especially poignant given the Islamic State’s actions. As a member of a minority sect, Bashar al-Assad’s power partially rests upon his being able to protect minorities from Sunni militants. The “authoritarianism” is an admission that left to their own desires, one group will simply attempt to slaughter everyone else.

Foley was among th
ose believed that power is passé, and that Assad’s removal would somehow lead to a liberal democracy. Instead, Foley was beheaded by the very rebels he was assisting. The “good” moderate rebels of the Free Syrian Army that Americans are so desperately counting on are irrelevant as they are squeezed between Assad’s forces and those of the Islamic State. If Foley “shaped history,” it was as one of those who inadvertently paved the way for the Caliphate. 

Foley’s death has not taught anyone anything, or even made a real impact. His beheading caused less sincere outrage and righteous anger than Gavin McInnes questioning the mental health of transsexuals. One of the main responses in the aftermath was a desperate plea “not to watch,” to shy away from the reality of violence underlying all social order and pretending that it doesn’t exist. Liberals acted like ISIS was Sarah Palin–“don’t look at it, lest we give it credibility.”

While this is framed as some kind of resistance to the propaganda of the Islamic State, it actually furthers its aims, strengthening the divide between hysterical Eloi wiling their lives away in fantasy and the hard men of the Caliphate imposing facts on the ground.

James Foley’s mother Diane said that she had “never been prouder” of her son because he gave his life trying to “expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.” However, even this is an admission of passivity–what difference does it make if “suffering” is “exposed” unless it is followed by action? The implicit premise is that when Third Worlders suffer, it is somehow Our Fault and Our Responsibility and Foley lived his life in order to awaken guilty Whites to the needs of their dusky charges.

Yet Foley’s mother went on to plead for the release of the other hostages on the grounds that, like her son, “They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.” But journalists do have control, or at least participate in the struggle for control. In Syria, Ferguson, or anywhere else, journalists advance a certain Narrative which supports specific policy aims. These policy aims, like any state aims, are imposed by force and backed with violence. What journalists seem to want is the freedom to advance an agenda while denying responsibility for its effects, to gain credit for their good intentions while avoiding any obligations for additional suffering. 

Foley’s family, the President, and the media interpreted the meaning of his life and death in light of the consequences to the Syrian people. Implicit in all of this is an admission that it is somehow illegitimate and immoral to take on the responsibility of history for your own interests. But contra the fantasies of the great and the good, it is the Islamic State that is shaping history in the Muslim world, and may someday shape Europe as well. Insofar as Foley had an impact, it was in opening the door for them. His defeat was total.

There is no escape from history. Those who shape history take upon themselves the responsibility to shed blood and have their own blood shed. Those who think they are only “bearing witness” are either deluding themselves or serving as useful idiots. And your status as a “journalist,” or “civilian” or “American” somehow exempts you does not mean that you are exempt. “There are no innocents anymore.”

But modern Westerners would rather die than accept the responsibility of being alive, or acting in a world defined by struggle rather than pretty lies. Whites who have a future must divorce themselves from the morality, values, and eventually the political systems of a dying culture, lest we share its fate. We can accept the responsibly of survival–or die on our knees, wondering why it is the people we tried to help killed us.

American Revolutionary hero Nathan Hale, quoting the play Cato, uttered the immortal words “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” before he was executed. Foley’s last words, as deservedly immortal in their own way, were “I guess, all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.”

We will never know if he was sincere or if this was forced. But if his death is any kind of a commentary on what it means to be “American” today, then yeah, me too. 

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America: Imagine the World Without Her

With that in mind, we have to ask just how many would-be conservatives became liberals because of the seemingly willed stupidity and dorkiness of Conservatism Inc. Dinesh D’Souza’s latest documentary is another chapter in this sordid tale of political buffoonery.

How can any well-adjusted, thinking person still associate with official conservatism?

People often choose their political affiliation for social, rather than for ideological reasons. They want to align with groups that are smart and successful. With that in mind, we have to ask just how many would-be conservatives became liberals because of the seemingly willed stupidity and dorkiness of Conservatism Inc. Dinesh D’Souza’s latest documentary is another chapter in this sordid tale of political buffoonery.

America: Imagine the World Without Her has the same flavor as the latest batch of evangelical movies, and rivals them in its lack of intellectual cleanliness. It features two squishy songs (here’s one) by acoustic guitar-wielding boy-men that are more fit for a middle school revival than a documentary that attempts gravitas, and D’Souza talks about the American founding as though it were the Immaculate Conception.

But that should come as no surprise when the film sets to perpetuate the myth of America as the glorious proposition nation that has overcome the universal faults of the world. Like the Messiah, America was created to expunge the universal sins of the world and offer man the promise of living in a merchant paradise. DSouza also promotes the myth that the old-timey America can be restored and the 1950s can be carried on for all of eternityas long as we vote Republican and live up to the Constitution.

With this in mind, the only people who should enjoy this movie are over the age of 50 or diehard believers in the conservative movement. DSouza himself compounds this problem by attempting to inject himself into every scene of the movie.

Just as viewers cant escape seeing Michael Moores corpulent figure in his films, DSouzas turtle-like resemblance is nearly as aesthetically unpleasing. The close ups of his smarmy face reveal his unbearable narcissism to many viewers.  His sense of victimization and his depiction of himself as some kind of martyr for conservativism widens the problem. But the real DSouza is just an immigrant plagiarist felon with no original ideas. He even stole the opening credit scene from Conan The Barbarianparadoxically, as the films message denounces the value of conquest.

The films subtitleImagine the World Without Heris misleading as the real purpose of the film is to address leftist accusations that America was built on conquest and theft. Except for the introduction, which dramatizes George Washington being gunned down by a British sniper, we never are shown the path of what the world would be like without the United States.

Instead, the film focuses on combating five alleged charges that the left promotes against America. They are: America committed genocide against the Indians and stole their land; America waged an unjust war against Mexico and stole their land; America enslaved millions of blacks and stole their labor; America practices imperialism and has stolen resources from around the globe; and America practices capitalism, which is an unfair economic system that favors the wealthy over the poor and is theft enshrined as economics.

The heroes of the film are George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and (naturally) Martin Luther King Jr. The bogeymen are Howard Zinn, Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, Saul Alinsky, and, of course, Barack Obama. This is history according to conservatives.

DSouza response to the charges postulated by Zinns A Peoples History to the United States is simplethose faults are attributable to the universal conquest ethic which America has overcome by adopting the ethic of the merchant. This is in many ways an inversion of the caricatured leftist thinking DSouza malignsthe parts of American history which violate his moral sensibilities are attributed to universal failings, while the virtues of America, however, are peculiar only to her. And he answers all charges with this mentality.

The Indians practiced conquest as well and Americans sometimes bought their land legally, thus no harm done. Mexico oppressed Texas, we answered the call to save the Southwest, and we gave back most of the country to Mexico, thus no harm done. Slavery was wrong, but blacks can now be great entrepreneurs and we sacrificed 600,000 lives to end it, thus no harm done. Our foreign wars have been on behalf of freedom and we have never exploited countries for resources, thus no harm done. Finally, capitalism is an amazing system that benefits everyone and depends on hard work, thus no harm done.

Unfortunately for DSouza, all of his rebuttals the left can easily dismiss and they glaringly overlook facts that Zinn and others use for their critical arguments of American history. But that doesnt matter since this film is an exercise in mythmaking and anything that would undermine the notion that America offers opportunity to all and was founded by entrepreneurs, rather than conquerors, is not expected to be offered.

For the main argument DSouza uses to praise America is that it took a different path from that of every other nation in human historythat it did not base itself on the conquest ethic. America, according to DSouzas, based itself on the merchant ethic instead. This ethic placed profit, security, comfort, and materialism above the martial virtues of conquest. The movie acts as an exposition in the merchant mindsetmerchant values above all others. For him, the real heroes of America are its entrepreneurs, not its warriors. To emphasize that America is on a different path, he points out that the entrepreneur was frequently far down in the caste system in every Traditionalist society and cites quotes of Traditionalist thinkers disparaging enterprise as less noble than theft to drive home his thesis. On the other hand, the businessman is the pinnacle of American society and entrepreneurship is treated as sacrosanct.

In many ways, the criticisms that Zinn makes of America as a nation based on conquest is what makes the nation worthy of any respect. A country in order to survive has to emerge out of violence and struggle. You either fight, or you die. The fact that a few frontiersmen from the British Isles were capable of taking over an entire continent is something that should be celebrated, not overlooked in favor of entrepreneurs who pushed hair care products to black women (which is one of Americas heroes). Our side probably agrees more with Zinns assessment of America rather than DSouzas, as well as the actual facts of history.

Considering DSouzas intended audience, he adds that America bases itself on low-church Protestantism and how the only cultural heritage America has is how its population was more likely go to church and provide private charity. Thus, when DSouza wants to pinpoint the quintessential American, he chooses Star Parker. Parker is a Black conservative scammer extraordinaire who racked up multiple abortions early in life while living on welfare. She then found Jesus and has become an entrepreneur in conning White conservatives out of their money by promising to do outreach to the Black community. Thats America folks.

This goes perfectly well with DSouzas celebration of America as the only true proposition nation, where even non-White plagiarists like himself can make a buck. For this argument, he doesnt use his smarmy self to make the pointhe uses a speech by U2 singer and perpetual Africa activist Bono to state the thesis instead.

 Here are some highlights from Bonos speech:

  • “America’s an idea, isn’t it? I mean Ireland’s a great country, but it’s not an idea. Great Britain’s a great country; it’s not an idea.”
  • “That’s how we see you around the world—as one of the greatest ideas in human history. Right up there with the renaissance, right up with crop rotation and the Beatles’ White Album.” 
  • “The idea is that you and me are created equal…the idea that life is not meant to be endured, but enjoyed. The idea that if we have dignity, if we have justice, then leave it to us, we’ll do the rest.”
  • “This country was the first to claw its way out of darkness and put that on paper.” 
  • “I know Americans say they have a bit of the world in them, and you do–the family tree has lots of branches. But the thing is, the world has a bit of America in it, too. These truths–your truths–they are self-evident in us.”

Instead of a nation united by blood, culture, and soil, were a nation bonded together by abstract principles of commerce and comfort. I cant imagine a more damning argument against the American idea.

The film concludes by focusing on Saul Alinsky and his acolytes nefarious plan to destroy these ideas and turn America into a socialist dystopia that hates the Constitution, and how Obama is now going after dissenterslike convicted campaign fraudster DSouza. Unfortunately for DSouzas intentions, Alinksy comes off as by far the coolest guy in the movie. He has gravitas, he has balls, he has ideals, and he seems to oppose all of the stupidity and childishness promoted for the past two hours. After seeing this movie, Id rather be an Alinskyite than a conservative.

The stupidity and childishness that underlies this film drives intelligent people into the arms of the Left. The movie made me want to become a liberal. He only has a place for the entrepreneur. The laborer and employee have no significance. Conquest is immoral and consumerism is awesome. Go to a mega church and make a buck off pointless products. That message makes my very being revolt in anger.

From the triumph of merchants over conquerors to the glorification of the proposition nation, Identitiarians have little in common with this films ideas. It puts into visual form the vast differences between us and our conservative peers, and dispenses with the illusion that they will ever come to radical thought with their own devices. The state and culture despise the aging Middle Americans who will take to this film, while those same audience members cling to the America that is no longer their
s. These people need to be shocked out of their stupor and wake up to the reality that this is no longer their country and the ideas promoted by schlock like America should be discarded into the dustbin of history.

They need to start imagining the world without Americabecause their world is about to get worse with her still around.

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When Starting the World Goes Wrong

It represents the faint beginnings of a cancer with the global liberal order, the playing out of internal contradictions that could ravage it from within. This discontent is borne more out of spiritual crisis than economic recession. The danger is that the Islamic State shows (with apologies to Dave Chapelle) what happens when starting the world goes wrong.

Barack Obama is now the fourth consecutive American President to order military action in Iraq. Once again, it seems we must “think of the children”–especially because this time, it seems they are decapitating them. Of course, after two decades of this, one is tempted to ask–so what else is new?

Well, what’s new is that America is not facing a “rogue state” refusing to play by the rules of George Bush I’s “New World Order.” Instead, a self-proclaimed Caliphate has arisen in the Levant, erasing boundaries between Iraq and Syria, seizing Iraq’s largest dam, and easily undoing whatever progress American forces made over the last decade holding the country together.

The breakdown of state power is startling to the Great and the Good, but not to those of us on the New Right who find both hope and dread in the warnings of William Lind and Martin van Crevald about the collapse of state power. Fourth Generation Warfare has already destroyed the Westphalian order in what is fashionably called the “birthplace of civilization.”

Indeed, it’s startling how utterly irrelevant states have become in the current wars. As Israel pulverizes Gaza, street protests are rocking the streets of Europe, as tribe fights Tribe in what is ostensibly the capital of the French. Meanwhile, the fabled “Arab street” seems largely quiet, as are Arab governments. As neoconservative Victor Davis Hanson accurately notes, many Arab states are, if anything, quiet supporters of Israel. Yet Israel still faces an existential demographic crisis that only grows worse even as it gradually strengthens its diplomatic position against former foes.

Meanwhile, while the “international community” can tweet and preen about freeing “Palestine,” far fewer seem to care when Sunni slaughters Shia, or vice versa. Tom Clancy predicted the rise of an Iranian dominated “United Islamic Republic” in Executive Orders that would drive for the Middle Eastern oil fields.  (It’s a mildly uncomfortable coincidence that a subplot in the book was an Ebola outbreak in the United States.) Clancy’s fiction errs only in that that it is the Sunnis of Iraq and Syria who have raised the black banner of Islamic unity and resistance to what they see as Alawite and Shia occupation. Ironically, it’s the forces of Hezbollah and the elite troops of the Islamic Republic of Iran that are the most active in fighting the Caliphate on the ground. A civil war within Islam akin to the Catholic/Orthodox slaughter of the Fourth Crusade is raging before our eyes.

This has led to some speculation that the “Islamic State” is actually a tool of American policy, keeping the Muslims at each other’s throats instead of Israel’s. It seems more likely that, as with Israel and Hamas, the foreign policy experts created a golem they can no longer control. Bashar al-Assad (and his lovely wife) told you so, you bloody fools.

But this goes beyond geopolitics. It represents the faint beginnings of a cancer with the global liberal order, the playing out of internal contradictions that could ravage it from within. This discontent is borne more out of spiritual crisis than economic recession. The danger is that the Islamic State shows (with apologies to Dave Chappelle) what happens when starting the world goes wrong.

It’s hard to imagine the Caliphate ever making the transition to a recognized state. However, unlike Osama bin Laden, the Islamic State has succeeded in creating a global brand that appeals to disaffected Sunnis throughout the world, including those in the West. Even women are joining the group – and we all await Jezebel to tell us what they really want is subsidized birth control and more female role models in comic books.

Of more concern, “Western” Muslims have been fighting for the Caliphate, providing propaganda for their brothers and clickbait fodder for the likes of the Daily Mail. For example, one “Abu Muslim,” a Canadian, went to fight for his god and was “martyred,” giving his Caliphate a new hero. Similarly, Muslims that outwardly resemble hipsters and used to post workout videos on YouTube now spend their days on the streets of Syria riding horses and waving scimitars. Naturally, this comes as a great surprise to all of us who know that “Islam means peace.”

What these Islamic warriors are fighting for is not just a Caliphate but something beyond what liberal democracy offers. It is the pursuit of the Greater Jihad through the Lesser Jihad. Unfortunately for us, Muslim culture offers an eternal and immediately available alternative to modernity. The great danger of non-White mass immigration–or what should be called settler colonialism–is the regression to the mean, both in intelligence and in culture. Even if a largely professional and secular Muslim goes to the West to become a wannabe SWPL, his sons will seek a return to their roots. Whether a rich Muslim turns his back on privilege or a poor one blames the kafir for his low status, the “root cause” of terrorism and extremism is something our ancestors already knew–Blood Tells.

What, after all, does the West–or modernity–offer people? While Fukuyama contends that it satisfies thymos, the desire for recognition, those who live under the postwar Western peace grow less worthy of dignity the more they talk about it. Worse, they know this. Ultimately, this leads to an internalized self-loathing, which modern man resolves in one of three ways.

  1. Pursuit of ever more elaborate forms of equality and revolt against nature (STIHIE)
  2. Consumerism, the political defense of consumerism, or a socially approved consumerist escapism (fandom, cosplay, video games, etc.)
  3. Rebellion – what Jack Donovan has called withdrawing consent in order to destroy the world modernity has created, and start a new one.  If enough people do this, it leads to what Dugin called “shov[ing] the people into the sweet process of creating history.”

What separates starting the world from LARPing? The answer is danger. To borrow from Hegel, the difference between the lord and the slave is the former risks his life and safety for the sake of honor. Modern men are slaves because they define themselves by their intense desire for safety, comfort, and self-gratification. As even movies like Wall-E point out, if human beings are simply transformed into perfectly safe consumers, they are no longer really human–and they certainly don’t have any dignity.

The result is the “elite” of modern society in culture, politics, and (with some exceptions) economics have no obvious justification for their right of lordship. Americans love to read celebrity magazines to be titillated by their betters, but no one is ennobled by them. The more degraded someone is, the more our society seems to reward them. Thus, in some ways, a culture of desperate sincerity–even a monstrous one–will always seem preferable at some level to what we have now. As South Park put it just after 9/11:

Kyle — Do you really think your civilization is better than ours?! You people play games by killing animals, and oppress women!

Afghan boy — It’s better than a civilization that spends its time watching millionaires walk down the red carpet at the Emmys!

Stan – (After a pause) …He’s got us there, dude.

Of course, liberal capitalism specializes in assimilating and commodifying rebellion. A revolt against the system usually just transforms into just another business opportunity. However, there are exceptions.

As the late Jonathan Bowden noted, the two forces completely unassimilable by modernity are the far right and religious fundamentalism. And the modern West only seems able to enthusiastically oppose political and religious extremism that is somehow identified as “pro-White” or “pro-Christian.” Militant Islam always needs to be “explained,” unlike, say, neo-fascism, which is always described as a “plague” or a “disease” that needs to be “crushed.”

Obviously, Muslim immigration into the West is more of a symptom than a cause of Western decline. In and of itself, it is powerless. But it is amazingly persistent and will move to fill a void. And the West is a spiritual void.

For proof, one only has to compare the response of Pope Urban II to Muslim aggression:

From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears, namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation forsooth which has not directed its heart and has not entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country, and a part it has destroyed by cruel tortures; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion…

Let the deeds of your ancestors move you and incite your minds to manly achievements; the glory and greatness of king Charles the Great, and of his son Louis, and of your other kings, who have destroyed the kingdoms of the pagans, and have extended in these lands the territory of the holy church. Let the holy sepulchre of the Lord our Saviour, which is possessed by unclean nations, especially incite you, and the holy places which are now treated with ignominy and irreverently polluted with their filthiness. Oh, most valiant soldiers and descendants of invincible ancestors, be not degenerate, but recall the valor of your progenitors.

To the pathetic, dishwatery mewlings of the current Spiritual Bolshevik-in-Chief on the extermination of Middle Eastern Christianity:

“Never war, never war,” [Pope Francis] said. “I am thinking, above all, of children who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, a future. Dead children, wounded children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who don’t know how to smile.” This was the moment when the tears came. “Please stop,” said Francis. “I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please!”

Yeah, that’ll do it. A far cry from Deus vult!

The West defines itself by tolerance, human rights, consumption, “freedom,” and phony religion that reinforces these decrepit values. It also only expresses its opposition to “militant Islam” in these terms. The result is that the West creates its own existential opposition from within.

When confronted with meaninglessness, with modernity, with either great wealth or the lack of it, there will always be temptation to assert oneself as more than a Last Man through Jihad in any place where there is a sizable Islamic population. After all, what could be more adventurous than re-establishing a Caliphate, leading the conquest of ancient cities, and creating a new world through the sword as the Companions of the Prophet did?  Better to live by the scimitar for one day, thinks the terrorist, than die slowly in a cubicle.

The fact that Islam is still seen as non-White and non-Western will always lend it that fashionable cachet forever denied to neo-fascism or Christian fundamentalism. In its way, modern Jihad is Riding the Tiger of Western decadence. And what’s more archaeo-futurist than getting likes for displaying the severed heads of your enemies on Facebook?

Moreover, while the horror of crucifixions, beheadings, and mass executions is real, Western governments have handicapped themselves in trying to muster outrage. It’s hard to act self-righteous when one only has to recall former Secretary of State Madeline Albright saying that indirectly taking the lives of half a million Iraqi children is “worth it” if it means removing Saddam Hussein. (And man, wouldn’t we love to have him back?)

Of course, at its essence, the cause of the Caliphate is despicable. What the Islamic State offers is a kind of Borg society that destroys priceless architectural treasures, subordinates real identity with a stale and abstract creed, and imposes a cultureless rule of unescapable mediocrity far worse than even that decreed by liberalism.

What is most chilling is not the beheadings or mass graves –we see that south of our own border in Mexico’s brutal drug war. What is worst are those robotic, almost blasé calls of the Takbir that accompany actions both murderous and mundane.  As Churchill said:

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!
Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia
in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many
countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods
of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the
Prophet rule or live.  A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and
refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity…Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it.

And the British government arrested Liberty GB leader Paul Weston for quoting it.

The fact that people are choosing this over the Lockean shopping mall bodes ill for the End of History. Someone is going to start the world. We had better make sure it’s us.

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Big Hate

A typical murderer drawn to the racist forum Stormfront.org is a frustrated, unemployed, white adult male living with his mother or an estranged spouse or girlfriend. She is the sole…

A typical murderer drawn to the racist forum Stormfront.org is a frustrated, unemployed, white adult male living with his mother or an estranged spouse or girlfriend. She is the sole provider in the household.

Forensic psychologists call him a “wound collector.” Instead of building his resume, seeking employment or further education, he projects his grievances on society and searches the Internet for an excuse or an explanation unrelated to his behavior or the choices he has made in life.

His escalation follows a predictable trajectory …

Thus read the opening lines of a report on Stormfront.com, penned by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Intelligence Director,” Heidi Beirich. Since its founding in 1971, the SPLC has amassed some $250 million in assets. Perhaps the SPLC could best fulfill its titular mission by giving away this hoard to impoverished Southerners? Whatever the case, if we are to learn anything from the Center’s fundraising operation, it is the necessity of giving potential donors a sense of having an enemy—an enemy to hate and fear, but also one that warms donors’ tummies with feelings of social and moral superiority.

Whenever I read paragraphs like these, I tend to think not of the specter of dangerous Nazi losers but of potential SPLC donors …

A typical donor drawn to the South Poverty Law is a frustrated, retired white female living alone or with an estranged husband. She exists on a pension in a rent-controlled urban apartment.

Forensic psychologists call her a “wound collector.” Instead of building her resume, seeking employment or further education, she projects her grievances on society and searches the Internet for an excuse or an explanation unrelated to her behavior or the choices she has made in life.

Her escalation follows a predictable trajectory …

While SPLC reports have gone beyond parody, the New York Times has just published a study on the online forum Stormfront that was refreshingly novel and honest (up to a point). First, the report utilizes the techniques of data aggregation (“Big Data”); secondly, its author, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, presents a much more realistic portrayal of the types of people who are attracted to White Nationalism. (After reading his piece, Heidi’s report seems more like a description of the villain in her favorite Lifetime Original Movie.)

The essay begins:

VIKINGMAIDEN88 is 26 years old. She enjoys reading history and writing poetry. Her signature quote is from Shakespeare. She was impressed when the dialect quiz in The New York Times correctly identified where she was from: Tacoma and Spokane, Wash. “Completely spot on,” she wrote, followed by a smiling green emoji.

I gleaned all this from her profile and posts on Stormfront.org, America’s most popular online hate site.

I recently analyzed tens of thousands of the site’s profiles, in which registered members can enter their location, birth date, interests and other information. Call it Big Hatred meets Big Data.

It’s easy to scoff at a username like “Vikingmaiden88,” but it’d be wrong to do so. To grow up in America over the past half century is, for millions of White people, to grow up in a culture-less, history-less No Man’s Land of suburbia and shopping malls. To identify one’s self with a heroic “viking” past and to use an archaic term like “maiden” indicates, among things, that this young woman has an imagination.

Over the past year, according to Quantcast, roughly 200,000 to 400,000 Americans visited the site every month. A recent Southern Poverty Law Center report linked nearly 100 murders in the past five years to registered Stormfront members. [Emphasis added]

The SPLC is quite good at linking

Of the 100 “linked” killings in the past five years, 77 were perpetrated by one man, Anders Breivik, who posted a few times on Stormfront in 2008, three years before launching his attack in Norway. Two other people on the SPLC’s list murdered multiple victims. This leaves 15 people who have committed heinous crimes and can be “linked” to Stormfront.

Stormfront has some 286,000 registered members (according to the SPLC), which means that it has a murder “linkage” of .005%. I wonder what kind of “linkage” rate we could come up with by examining, say, people who uploaded a video to World Star Hiphop?

More importantly, in her report, Beirich doesn’t bother to apply the most basic principle of analysis: Did these 15 individuals commit murders because of Stormfront, in spite of Stormfront, or regardless of Stormfront? Being that so many of the “linked” murderers killed family members, I would assume that “in spite of” and “regardless of” are the most likely options. But that ain’t good for fundraising.

Anyway, the superior Times report continues:

Stormfront members tend to be young, at least according to self-reported birth dates. The most common age at which people join the site is 19. And four times more 19-year-olds sign up than 40-year-olds. Internet and social network users lean young, but not nearly that young.

The Angry Young Man is one “hate” trope, but generally racialism is thought to be an affliction of the old—those who haven’t been fully reconstructed by modern education or exposed to the bounteous goodness of “diversity.”

Reading the Times’s piece, I wondered how many Stormfront members were radicalized by listening to the “Americanist” platitudes of their Baby Boomer parents, either of the “World’s Great Democracy” or “Here, You Can Live Your Dreams” variety?

Profiles do not have a field for gender. But I looked at all the posts and complete profiles of a random sample of American users, and it turns out that you can work out the gender of most of the membership: I estimate that about 30 percent of Stormfront members are female.

Quite remarkable. Mainstream religion is majority female; the inverse of this trend is that “fringe” movement are overwhelmingly male. I would have guessed that Stormfront’s membership was at least 90% male.

Stephens-Davidowitz also suggests that Stormfront membership rates might reveal something about America’s regional makeup.

The states with the most members per capita are Montana, Alaska and Idaho. These states tend to be overwhelmingly white. Does this mean that growing up with little diversity fosters hate?

Probably not. Since those states have a higher proportion of non-Jewish white people, they have more potential members for a group that attacks Jews and nonwhites. The percentage of Stormfront’s target audience that joins is actually higher in areas with more minorities. This is particularly true when you look at Stormfront’s members who are 18 and younger and therefore do not themselves choose where they live.

Among this age group, California, a state with one of the largest minority populations, has a membership rate 25 percent higher than the national average.

One of the most popular social groups on the site is “In Support of Anti-Semitism.” The percentage of members who join this group is positively correlated with a state’s Jewish population. New York, the state with the highest Jewish population, has above-average per capita membership in this group.

One of liberalism’s most unlikely fantasies is that as Whites are exposed to more “diversity,” they will become less racially conscious. A realistic understanding of human nature leads one to the opposite conclusion, as does this study.

That said, it doesn’t follow that an absence of racial diversity will lead to an absence of White racial consciousness, as the popularity of Stormfront in the Mountain West makes clear.

Interestingly, Montana and Minnesota are both overwhelmingly White (indeed, both are ethnically Germanic and Scandinavian), yet the percentages of the populations interested in Stormfront are starkly different. How to explain this? Is it the spirit of the Wild West vs. Minnesota Nice? Is this the result of selective migration? Is Stormfront membership a limited measure of racial consciousness, as different expressions are at play in Minnesota?

Political developments certainly play a role [in the popularity of Stormfront]. The day that saw the biggest single increase in membership in Stormfront’s history, by far, was Nov. 5, 2008, the day after Barack Obama was elected president.

In the fall of 2008, I was at a private meeting of like-minded individuals in which the upcoming election was discussed. Most of the conversation centered around how disappointing John McCain was as the “conservative” option. Louis Andrews, my predecessor as Director of NPI, cut through the crap. It was Obama who, through his very person, would signify to average Americans that they have been dispossessed in their own land; it is thus Obama (not any “conservative”) who would raise consciousness among our people. Louis was right.

Stephens-Davidowitz digs deeper into the habits of Stormfronters.

The top reported interest of Stormfront members is “reading.” Most notably, Stormfront users are news and political junkies. One interesting data point here is the popularity of The New York Times among Stormfront users. According to the economists Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro, when you compare Stormfront users to people who go to the Yahoo News site, it turns out that the Stormfront crowd is twice as likely to visit nytimes.com.

Perhaps it was my own naïveté, but I would have imagined white nationalists’ inhabiting a different universe from that of my friends and me. Instead, they have long threads praising “Breaking Bad” and discussing the comparative merits of online dating sites, like Plenty of Fish and OkCupid.

Return to VikingMaiden88. When you read her 189 posts since joining the site, she often seems like a perfectly nice and intelligent young woman.

But she also has a lot of hatred. She praises a store for having “100% white employees.” She says the media is promoting a “Jewish agenda.” And she says she finds Asians “repulsive physically, socially, religiously, etc.”

Why do some people feel this way? And what is to be done about it? I have pored over data of an unprecedented breadth and depth, thanks to our new digital era. And I can honestly offer the following answer: I have no idea.

A young man with a PhD from Harvard, who’s a contributing opinion writer at America’s liberal paper of record, is at a loss for words!?

His silence speak volumes. Having rejected all possible sociological and economic explanations, Stephens-Davidowitz is left with a sneaking suspicion that racial consciousness is natural and rational.

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The Evil of the Telescreen

The telescreen can never be turned off; only turned down. 

The telescreen can never be turned off; only turned down.

Fate found me in a government building sans a book or a cellphone.  A television blared from the center of the room, commanding all attention.  For the first time in many years, I watched regular television programs, marooned in a state waiting room, surrounded by strangers.

Like many others, I have a television that is only used for DVD’s or the inevitable Netflix account, giving me a certain amount of freedom as to what I want to see.  As I get most entertainment and news from the Internet, I never quite realized how bad the “normal” and “apolitical culture” has become.

The first show was an episode of “House” in which the eponymous doctor attempts to help a marriage counselor with a mysterious illness.  The male counselor is suffering from low testosterone among other problems, and House puts him on a dose of the male hormone while they attempt to figure out the source of his illness.

Initially, the testosterone makes the patient feel better, act more decisively, and feel more sexually attracted to his wife.  However, he starts making decisions without her and demanding his wife respect him as the “Man of the House” (the title of the episode).  The wife is shocked by this behavior, wondering where her compliant, submissive husband went.  Watching a video of one of her husband’s earlier business seminars, she is disgusted by the way her husband used to preach a creed of take no prisoners capitalism.  “I never would have gone out” with a man like that, she sniffs.  In the end, the patient is saved – but before he is discharged, he asks for the testosterone to be lowered.  He admits it makes him feel better – but making his wife happy is more important.

The next show was NCIS, starring heroic law enforcement officers working for the Department of the Navy.  Two of the male protagonists in this episode were married to the same woman, and the plot now centers on her third husband.  There is a terrorism plot against the Joint Chiefs of Staff who are all going to a football game (insert your joke here.)  When the plot is predictably foiled, the dying terrorist tells the law enforcement agents, “You don’t even know what you’re defending.”  It is revealed that the terrorist–an employee of the Homeland Security Department–was sponsored by someone in the military industrial complex, presumably to prevent defense cuts. Thus, as always, the real terrorists are those who promote fear of “the other.”

There is a Narrative.  It is never fully defined but we all know what it is.  Heterosexual white males are holding everybody down.  Racist forces are numerous, powerful, violent, and everywhere.  Hate crimes are rampant, homosexuals are brutally oppressed, and every wife in the country puts on make up in the morning to hide the black eye she got from her husband.

The defining characteristic of the Age of Obama is not anything the President did or any historical event overseas.  It is that Obama seemed to open a door to the anticulture of the egalitarian Left to fully take over the mass media.  It seems genuinely incredible that there was a time when parents used to protest things like sexual content or obscenity on television.  More than that, it is only in the recent past there has been a shift were the “default” culture is socially egalitarian, explicitly anti-Christian, and explicitly anti-white.  It is not media bias that is the program – it is the moral vision presented by sitcoms, talk shows, and the daytime pap consumed by your average White Americans.

This propaganda is all the more insidious because it is diffuse.  Despite the extreme concentration of the American mass media, most Americans cannot recognize propaganda as propaganda unless it specifically comes from the government.  More than that, unless it comes with militaristic trappings and the aesthetics of fascism, most Americans will not see social conditioning as sinister or even intentional.  It will be simply be interpreted as freedom in action.  Unlike in They Live, there isn’t just one television signal we can blow up to reveal the horrible truth.

A sign of successful propaganda is that the intended target can’t remember where he heard it, but he swears it is true.   This is easy to accomplish when degeneracy serves as a kind of background noise for the entire society.  Millions of half-formed impressions, snippets of conversation, and barely remembered storylines will far outweigh any coherent argument or even cogent slogan in defense of positive values.  The prevalence and uniformity of the media is such that for a huge segment of the population, “creating awareness” and “education” are nothing but a tremendous waste of time.

But there is a bright side.  It also means that “Come the Revolution” (as the Left used to say), most people will believe whatever they are told to believe.  It means that even when public opinion is nominally against the Dissident Right, a vast swath is simply unthinking allegiance to whatever they vaguely remember from Oprah that morning.  And it means that culture is a creation, not a source, of power.  It means that victory is not impossible.

This is nothing but a silver lining for the dispossessed Dissident Right and the European peoples they fight for.  But just try to watch some TV for fifteen minutes – and after that, I’ll take any glimmer of hope I can get.

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America in 2034

One day, it is assumed, a tipping point will be reached: Decent folks will get fed up, and they will . . . they will . . . we’re never told exactly what they’ll do. Restore the Constitution? Kick the bums out? White Revolution?

Originally published at American Renaissance as a part of their “America in 2034” series.

The American Right seems to operate under a Howard Beale theory of history. The reference is to Network, the classic satire of mass media from 1976. In the film’s iconic scene, Beale, who had been a respectable news anchor, can no longer merely report on the outrages of daily life: the economic depression . . . the depravity and inhumanity . . . the corruption . . . the fear, numbness, and isolation of Americans who watch it unfold on their flickering screens. “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” says Beale, and he wants you to be mad, too. He exhorts viewers to get off the coach and scream out the window: “I’m a human being, God damn it!”

Network reflected a certain liberal disillusionment, but the character of Beale always struck me as a recurring avatar of right-wing reaction. He’s Nixon’s Silent Majority, who just wants the cops to crack down on hippies, hoodlums, and faggots . . . the Middle American who goes to Washington . . . the Tea Party patriot who’s ready to take his country back . . . . The most successful conservative personalities have been the most emotionally unhinged, that is, the ones who crafted their personae on Beale.

And conservatives of all varieties seem to think like Beale, too. According to their logic, as time goes on, things keep getting worse: taxes, gays, illegal immigrants, philandering politicians, race hustlers, und so weiter. . . . One day, it is assumed, a tipping point will be reached: Decent folks will get fed up, and they will . . . they will . . . we’re never told exactly what they’ll do. Restore the Constitution? Kick the bums out? White Revolution? Pastor David Manning predicts that at some point red-blooded, God-fearing white people will get so angry that they will riot. (The Pastor will join them.)

There is a kernel of truth to this view, as sometimes seemingly insignificant or passing slights or frustrations ignite historical struggles on the grandest scale: The French Revolution, for instance, was sparked by a bad grain harvest.

That said, “Bealeans” are blind to the way we can absorb and assimilate negativity, and thus maintain the hegemony of the status quo. This often takes the form of a recurring cycle:

  1. White America begins in a state of passivity and uneasy contentment. (In Beale’s words, “Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and I won’t say anything. Just leave me alone.”)
  2. At some point, a shock to the system occurs–something surprising, new, or exogenous: Wall Street Bailouts, Barack Obama, Benghazi, etc.
  3. White Americans are then presented formal ways of venting: voting for a political party, joining a mass protest movement like the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street, etc.
  4. The shock dissipates, and whites are frustrated by the failures of activism. They return to where they started: passivity and uneasy contentment.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. This circle is continuous, predictable, and, possibly, endless. In other words, we’re mad as hell and we are going to take this anymore!

In considering the future of race relations, I can envision a variety of macro-possibilities:

  1. A linear extension of what’s happening now: Life for Whites will get progressively more expensive, troublesome and unpleasant, but remain somehow bearable. The void of existence will be filled with techo-gadgets, make-work, and pornography. Dispossession will be a slow burn.
  2. Or there could be more interesting times ahead, as Gerald Celente and Piero San Giorgio have vividly described them: America’s elite loses control, loses it nerve, or goes too far: hyperinflation . . . political dissolution . . . war and civil unrest . . . in a word, collapse.
  3. Or perhaps the 20th century isn’t over. The revelations of Edward Snowden prophesy a new brand of totalitarianism in which all aspects of private life—even our thoughts—are monitored by a paranoid regime. The deconstruction of gender, race, and class (at the moment, an academic concern) will be enforced by the federal police. Perversity was once forbidden; it became a right; it will one day be compulsory.

Each one these scenarios follows logically from clear tendencies within our time. What’s critical is that in this spectrum, I can imagine most all white people just sitting back and taking it. (In Network, Howard Beale ultimately became a harmless parody, finally shot dead on camera after his ratings sagged.)

But I can also imagine, in any one of the above scenarios, white men rediscovering themselves and recapturing their world. And this need not happen when faced with annihilation or the jackboot. As Hamlet observed, the truly great man will “find quarrel in a straw / When honor’s at the stake.”

The past and future of race relations are truly the past and future of how Europeans understand themselves. Events, policies, demographics—these are of secondary importance in comparison to will. Man is a social animal, and he is also an interpreter: He is the one who (sometime desperately) makes sense of his being, his history, and his world–and in interpreting them, he changes them.

In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner posited the “frontier” as the landscape of the American psyche. For the past 50 years, this has transformed into its quainter cousin, “suburbia.” The modern American Dream hinges on the assumption that we can comfortably escape social problems–which have largely been matters of race–by moving to the new development a half hour outside the city. There, one can create–at tremendous unseen cost–a simulacrum of a 1950s small town, replete with all-white schools and a Gap.

Whatever one might think of suburbia as a way of life, its bubble has most definitely burst. Might the closing of this frontier be an opportunity for us to finally confront the consequences, not only of race, but of our own blindness, weakness, and wishful thinking? I hope so. For the goal is not just to get mad at the world, but to change it.

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White Men Vote Republican Because They’re Suckers

Working-class white men vote Republican because the Democrats have made it clear that they care about representing the interests of everyone but  working-class white men. 

 

Originally published at Jack-Donovan.com

Amanda Marcotte recently wrote that “White men, as a group, vote Republican because they vote their resentments.”

The New York Times article she cited didn’t say or even imply anything about resentment. It did say that straight, working-class white men vote Republican because the Democratic Party has devoted the majority of its resources to appealing to women, gays and the various groups of less-white men who are nostalgically referred to as “minorities.” The Democratic Party has been on the opposite side of issues that working-class white men have cared about for decades, and according to the Times piece, many strategists within the party think it’s a waste of time trying to win them over.

Working-class white men vote Republican because the Democrats have made it clear that they care about representing the interests of everyone but working-class white men.

These guys vote Republican because Republicans actually make an effort to tell them what they want to hear.

Basically, white men vote Republican because they’re suckers.

The likes of Marcotte say that working-class white men are motivated by fear and resentment, but the majority of people who vote Democrat are doing it for nobler reasons.

They’re not. Most of them are voting for their own short-term self-interest.
Sure, there is a small class of progressive white men who make a big show of putting everyone else’s interests first. They demonstrate their moral superiority by standing up — mostly online — for whatever “rights” they believe that women or blacks or illegal immigrants or transsexuals or chickens are somehow entitled to.

Everyone else is just voting for stuff they want.

Women vote Democrat because they understandably want the convenience of being able to kill their unwanted children. They vote Democrat because they want free birth control and they want free healthcare for the kids they decide to keep. Women also vote for Democrats because Democrats offer special programs to help women get education and jobs.

Women have always depended on men for protection, but they’d rather depend on many men than just one or a few, so they are happy to vote for measures to increase “security.” As a group, women don’t like or understand guns, so they vote Democrat because Democrats promise to take guns away from men — usually those working-class white men — and give them to the big group of men in the government.

Men have historically been suspicious of what big groups of men will do when they have all of the weapons.

Blacks vote Democrat because they are smart and racist. They were going to vote for Obama no matter what he did because he was black, and like sensible people they figure it is better to have one of your own in power. Democrats, as a group, are known for caring more about giving free stuff to black people. Blacks are smart, because they know that it is always better to get something for free than to pay for it.

Blacks also know that you don’t need a permit to buy a gun. You just go buy one from that guy down the street and, you know, take care of business. White men are afraid to buy guns without following the rules, so more rules means less white men with guns. This is good for black men, because they like the convenience of being able to wear a hoodie in the rain without getting shot by nervous white men with guns.

Latinos vote Democrat because their families came to America to take advantage of employment opportunities and all of the benefits and protections that America offers to its citizens. They figure more benefits and protections are better than less, and Democrats always offer more benefits and protections.

In places with a lot of Latinos, Democrats say that you shouldn’t have to go through the trouble of becoming a citizen to get those benefits and protections. This is convenient for Latinos who are not citizens, because using a dead person’s social security number can sometimes be inconvenient.

Gay people vote Democrat because Democrats offer gay people stuff they think they want. Aside from marriage and the sadistic thrill of being able to force Christians to make wedding cakes, this includes free healthcare. Free healthcare comes in handy when you’re a man who occasionally has sex with guys he met 30 minutes ago on Grindr, or a lesbian who occasionally gets drunk and has sex with men. (See the first point about women above.)

Transsexuals vote Democrat because they want the government to pay for the very expensive cosmetic surgeries and hormones that are necessary for them to become who they really are. Also, they are confused about which bathroom to use, so they want more special bathrooms for confused people.

(Chickens are not technically allowed to vote yet, but we hear they want to be free range, which sounds libertarian.)

As Gari Day, the white male bus driver featured in the Times article said, “Republicans make you work for your money, and try to let you keep it.”

He probably doesn’t understand how the government can afford to keep giving everyone free stuff forever. He probably does figure that some of that money for the stuff other people want is coming out of his earnings. But he’s not alone in that — I’ve yet to see a successful Democrat turn down a tax break. No one actually wants to pay more taxes.

Aside from voting to keep more of their own money and to keep the guns they bought, a lot of these straight, white, working-class men are not asking for anything. They’re too proud for that.

As old-fashioned voters, they see themselves as part of the government. They’re not just trying to get more stuff from the government and come up with reasons why they deserve it. They’re voting for a society that works the way they think things should work.

And that’s why they’re suckers.

Democratic and Republican politicians, like everyone else, see the government as a way to get what they want. Politicians want power and status. To get elected, they accept money from regular people, from rich men, from businesses, and probably from foreign countries. In return, they promise favors. That’s how the system works.

People who don’t want anything from the government are useless to politicians, because they are difficult to manipulate and impossible to please. The government, like every big bureaucracy, is in the growth business. Making the government smaller isn’t in the short-term interest of any ambitious bureaucrat. Contraction only makes political sense when you’re trying to reduce an opponent’s sphere of influence.

Democrats promise more government, and more free stuff. Republicans promise less free stuff for poor people, and promise to lower taxes in return, but they rarely manage to lower taxes for anyone but rich guys who — let’s be real — were usually born into money and didn’t work any harder than the guys driving buses. Many of the wealthy elite are white guys, true, but they care about as much about the working-class white guys as the Democratic Party leadership.

White men are suckers because they haven’t figured out that the America they believe in is already gone, and that they are the only ones who aren’t asking for whatever they can get while the gettin’s still good. They’ll vote reliably Republican as long as the Republicans keep talking about self-reliance and how things should work, and that will free up Republican politicians to do favors for people who actually want stuff.

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One Small Step For Marine, One Giant Leap to Nowhere

Several American and British friends asked me to comment on this “earthquake” that no less than shattered the foundations of La République. That such an insignificant event can make the headlines of the Western media tells you much about how increasingly insecure our ruling class is, however wrongly so. 

This article was originally published in October 2013.


Being the House Frog of this august assembly, I’m often asked what I think of France’s Front National, despite the fact that I made quite clear, in my debut article here, how negative my opinion of that party is (if it has changed in a year, it’s not for the better). 

Last week-end’s by-election was no exception to the rule: several American and British friends asked me to comment on this earthquake that no less than shattered the foundations of La République. My real surprise was that people outside France would have heard of it at all. Not only was it a by-election, but what was at stake was merely one seaton a département‘s council (the département is the French equivalent of the county in the U.S. or the borough in Britain, though it is directly controlled by Paris).

That such an insignificant event can make the headlines of the Western media tells you much about how increasingly insecure our ruling class is, however wrongly so. 

Jim Goad, who forgot writing a few months ago that he wouldn’t mind if all French people died overnight (suffocated with freedom fries, maybe), saw Front National’s “victory” as “a step in the right direction.” I’m heartened to see that Jim came back to his senses, but what if Goad wasn’t  one of us? And what if these “victories” were not good news for those who genuinely want our race and civilization to have a future?

I’m not sure words are sufficient to make people understand how terrible this party is. I have written many times against stato-nationalism. I have argued numerous times how any organization that places the “nation” above the race and civilization is as much an enemy as any mainstream party. Yet even people with whom I have exchanged hundreds of emails and met with in real life continue to define Front National‘s Marine Le Pen as a “white nationalist.”

Two factors explain why even people with whom I agree on so much else get this wrong:  

  1. We rely on (liberal) national media from our country to know what’s happening in other Western countries. In France, right-wing people I know look at America with envy because you have… Sarah Palin (!). Since many right-wingers merely invert the liberal worlview to define theirs, the fact that liberal journalists depict Palin as the new Eva Braun is enough for them to like her. As a Swiss friend of mine says, leftists would just need to state publicly how they hate excrement for righties to stuff their nose into a pile of turds at once.  
  2. Relatedly, many in our circles believe that if a politician is hated by “the Left,” who of course is our only enemy,“he must be doing something right.” By this idiotic standard, Dubya was doing something right when he made up the WMDs thing to justify his invasion of Iraq, right?

If words are not enough, will pictures suffice? Here are two campaign posters and a press picture of three candidates, the first one for the general elections in 2012, the two others for the municipal elections next year.

Elie Taieb: 

“For a Real National Assembly!”

Mungo Shematsi:

Mungo Shematsi is the one on the left.

Mungo Shematsi is the one on the left.

Sofiane Ghoubali: 

Now, has this appeasement been fruitful? Besides this totally unimportant by-election last Sunday, Marine Le Pen got 17.9 percent of the vote in the last presidential election. Which obviously means that 82.1 percent of the electorate didn’t vote for her, without taking into account the 22 percent who didn’t vote (I was one of them, of course) at all.

One can wonder what the next step in this normalization process is before Front National can not only have a candidate in the second round, like Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002, but in the presidential palace, and whether the party will still be remotely national when it happens (if it does).

That, of course, is if one believes that actual power lies in public office. Ironically, right-wingers seem to be the last democrats. Only on the Right can one still find this naive belief that the President, or Prime Minister, has a kind of control panel in his office where from everything bad in the country can be solved with a simple tap of the finger.

But let’s be serious with politics, will we? When syndicated columnists define the American president as “the most powerful man in the world,” only eunuchs and morons can be impressed with that phrase. Who with a three-digit IQ seriously thinks that Barack Obama is more powerful than, say, George Soros? Or Lloyd Blankfein?

Even if nationalist politicians managed to get elected at “top” positions in the Potemkin political system, it wouldn’t change a thing since there’s nothing at the other end of the wheel. Yet even that is impossible since the real rulers (bankers, bureaucrats, CEOs, media owners) need the democratic fiction to go on, as the victory of a nationalist party, even one as castrated as Front National is, would prove that no actual power is in the ballot.

And this would make their situation sensibly more precarious than what it is now. 

The predictable outcome is as follows: Front National will gain votes in the years to come, and what is taboo on the mainstream Right for now (an alliance with the “Far Right”) will become possible, with a victory of this awkward coalition in the process.

Marine will get a ministry, which of course won’t help her in any way to fix France’s problems, in the unlikely hypothesis that she still knows what they are and how to fix them. I’m not sure if Mungo Shematsi or Sofiane Ghoubali wouldn’t be a better choice than her.

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